I'm heading downtown today for the State Auditor's event to kick off the new web site and application process for the Citizens Redistricting Commission, created through the passage of Prop. 11 last year. The event will be webcast live at 10:30 a.m..
The new "We Draw the Lines" web site will begin accepting applications next week on December 15. Already people can see drafts of what the applications look like and find out what will be asked of folks who want to apply.
Some have been wondering whether at the end of the application process there will be enough money to fund the actual commission? The initiative called for $3 million to fund the new commission, but the first time around there are of course start-up costs, like creating regulations and an application and selection process. The Legislature has allocated the $3 million Prop. 11 calls for, but clearly more money will be needed. Even the Legislative Analyst's analysis of Prop. 11 in the ballot pamphlet said $3 million was insufficient and the actual costs just given inflation would be $4 million.
Fortunately John Myers at KQED Radio has taken a closer look at this question, and today published a very thorough description of what is likely to be the biggest implementation challenge Prop. 11 faces -- how do you get more money for a worthy program in this fiscal climate?
Reform proponents have a good opportunity to try to lock additional funding in, but the window is closing. The current Governor of the state was the biggest champion of all of redistricting reform and Prop. 11. He used his fundraising powers to raise millions to support the measure, which barely passed. If it's going to take more than $3 million to do it right, proponents need to figure out how much and ask for it sooner rather than later while Gov. Schwarzenegger is still in office. There's no guarantee the next Governor, whoever he or she will be, will have such a soft spot for redistricting reform, and certainly most members of the Legislature aren't exactly eager to get this done, either.